Calls for a £600m road bridge across the Thames in east London have set the stage for a new battle between environmental groups, politicians and business leaders.

The proposal for a bridge linking Beckton and Thamesmead has come from the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry. But it was immediately condemned by Friends of the Earth as a "relic from the past".

Credit: London Chamber of Commerce
  • An earlier plan for a crossing known as the Thames Gateway Bridge was axed in 2008 after fierce opposition from conservationists and local pressure groups

  • The chamber of commerce claims the new crossing will be "bike friendly" with segregated cycle lanes

  • Motorists could be forced to pay a toll

Labour welcomed the proposal saying the economic regeneration of east London is being damaged by poor river crossings.

Current plans for additional crossings east of Tower Bridge include a tunnel at Silvertown and a possible replacement for the Woolwich Ferry.

Credit: PA

Transport for London said a new public consultation on additional crossings beginning next week would be the "perfect opportunity" for the LCCI to submit its bridge proposal.